Saturday, October 31, 2015

Auckland Marathon Day

The Auckland Marathon / Half Marathon is the biggest event on the running calendar for us so it was with great excitement this morning that we made our way down to the Devonport start line.  The excitement was made all the greater with the All Blacks playing in the Rugby World Cup final at Twickenham against The Wallabies and so there was a big flat screen TV just next to the start line so that we could all watch the game finish.  Thankfully the mighty All Blacks won - so what a great start to the day. 

It was also exciting to be running today with lots of good friends, including my running buddy Simone who will do the 50km with me in two weeks time, my gorgeous daughter Soph and my awesome niece Orla who was running her first half marathon and had flown up from Christchurch to take part.  We also ran into Suzanne at the start line who Simone and I worked with at ANZ a number of years ago.

The half marathon started at 6.50 am (50 minutes after the marathon which my friend and neighbour Helen was taking part in).  Once the race started things moved very slowly given the thousands of runners who were taking part.  Simone and I had decided to start the race together but potentially split at the 15 km mark if one of us was feeling better than the other.  The day was perfect for the event, no wind, no rain, and temperatures of about 16 degrees.  It is always great to see friendly faces supporting the event and so it was wonderful to see coach Sue at the 9km mark at Smales Farm.  She took a few snaps of us running past so will look forward to seeing those.

The highlight of the run is going across the Auckland Harbour Bridge - the top of the bridge happens to be the 15km mark which is where Simone left me as she was feeling really good. Then at 18km Soph crept up behind me and went past - her goal for the day was to beat me across the finish line and to be honest I didn't think she would manage it given all the training I have been doing - but off she went and whilst I was very comfortable maintaining the same pace, I didn't have the energy to lift my pace to keep up with her.  There was a turning point down by the Viaduct at 19kms and I noticed Suzanne was very close behind me and I knew she was wanting to run a 2.15 half marathon so I shouted out to her that she was close to being able to achieve her goal.

Finally the finish line was in front of me and I was so grateful to see it.  Just as I went to cross the line Suzanne flew past just pipping me at the post - I was really happy that she achieved her best half marathon time.

Other results - Orla finished her first half marathon in 2.06, Simone finished in 2.14, Soph finished in 2.15 followed very closely by me at 2.16 (along with Suzanne).  Helen also had a great marathon finishing in 3.20 - just awesome but inconceivable for me!

We enjoyed a great family brunch before Orla flew back to Christchurch down at the local cafe where we were joined by my mum and dad.

There are 13 days left now until the 50km run and very little left for Simone and I to do other than a few short runs/walks which will allow our legs to freshen up for their big day out at Tarawera in Rotorua on Saturday 14 November - start time 8.30am.

Until then!!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

We aren't the only ones who are winning...

With 4 weeks to go now, this weekend was the biggest week of training for Simone and I with 6.5 hours training in total to be completed.

So at 6.30 am on Saturday morning Simone and I headed off once again along the beaches and coastal walkways up to Torbay and back - we ran for 4 hours and 6 minutes and covered 30kms - which from a distance perspective doesn't sound a lot but the terrain really does slow us down.  The crazy thing is that four hours doesn't seem as long as it did a few weeks ago now that we have some seriously long runs in the bank - I guess thats the purpose of building the distances over a period of 10-12 weeks.

Then this morning with the All Black's playing France starting at 8am I got up extra early to finish the next 2.5 hours of training so that I could enjoy watching the game with good friends (as I suspect all New Zealanders were doing today).  Coach Sue had told me just to spend the 2.5 hours on my feet whether it was walking or jogging so I took her advice - actually I mostly jogged along but towards the end I stopped in at the Takapuna Beach Cafe for a spicy chai latte (made with almond milk as I have dropped dairy out of my diet) and then stopped in at the Takapuna Markets to get some strawberries to take to breakfast.

Soph and I then headed off to Clara and Jason's for an awesome bacon and egg breakfast whilst watching the All Black's play and win an amazing game of rugby- absolutely outstanding result.

Then once the business end of the weekend was completed it was time to jump into the spa pool to take the aches out of my very tired legs - whilst continuing to enjoy such great company!

Until next time….

Friday, October 9, 2015

5 weeks and counting

There are now five weeks remaining until the 50km and today was the biggest run for Simone and I in the lead up to the Tarawera trail.   Where to go was the biggest question for us as we needed to run for a little longer than the 4.5hours we did a fortnight ago.  It is amazing how much of the North Shore can be covered in that number of hours.

We decided to head off towards Devonport and pick up the route of the 25km race that I ran a few weeks ago which has similar terrain to what we are expecting on the trails of Tarawera - boardwalks, cross country (up and over North Head), beach and coastal walkways.

In the last few longer runs I have experienced some nasty chaffing on my back from carrying my camelback so wanted to try a new cream to reduce/eliminate that and also today was a good day to test the nutrition requirements.  I had some gu chewys and also a peanut butter bar as well as my electrolyte drink in my camel bak.

What never ceases to amaze me is that Simone and I never run out of things to talk about while we are pounding the boardwalks - it is amazing how fast the hours pass by when you have great company.

Once we completed the Devonport /Belmont / Hauraki loop we then headed back along Takapuna Beach through to Milford and did a few loops before heading back along the coastline.

The chewys went down a treat - they have caffeine in them which provided some well needed boosts and we stopped a few times to refill our camelbaks - we started to be aware how much water we took in during the latter part of the run.

The good news was that we both felt really good for the whole way - eventually completing 4 hours and 40 minutes - only 10 minutes longer than a few weeks ago but still long enough to test our stamina at being on our feet for that amount of time - the good news is that there was no chaffing today and the nutrition worked out a dream.

I did need to refuel at the completion of the run - and after a hot shower, where better to head than to Burger Burger - Soph told me that they made the best burgers in town and she was right - it really hit the spot.

Until next time….